The non-austerity British Labour party and reality – Part 2

In Part 1 of this two-part blog I laid out a general analytical framework for considering fiscal rules that might allow governments to borrow for infrastructure as long as all current expenditure is at least matched by taxation and other current receipts. This is more or less the rule that the British ‘Charter of Budget Responsibility’ imposes and the approach that the new (previously called radical left) British Labour Party leadership aspires to obey. I use previously called ‘radical left’ advisedly because as the days pass the utterances of the economic leadership make it difficult to differentiate between Labour and the Tories. The main difference appears to be the worn out “we will tax the rich and the crafty tax dodgers to balance the budget”. A nonsensical stance for a progressive political force and verges on Game Over syndrome. John McDonnell’s presentation to the National Labour Conference yesterday was a further walk into obscurity. By claiming they are not “deficit deniers” and will close the deficit as a priority they have walked right through the Tory framing door. Not lingered on the doorstep and then sought more salubrious premises. But they are right inside – trapped into the same mantra – yes, they will cut the deficit but it will be a fairer cutting. The rich will pay. And pigs might fly.

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